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Showing posts from 2019

Happy Halloween!

I did a lot of sewing and costume crafting this month! Details to come and better pictures, but I have to get ready for trick-or-treating tonight!

What I'm Reading, Playing, Watching: September

WOW this is late! I usually type this throughout the month as I read/play/watch, and then add pics and formatting at the end and post it, but October is kicking my butt! I have about 40 hours of sewing to do in the next few weeks and only about 10 free hours in which to sew...Halloween is like the Nanowrimo of the Costuming World! Luckily this means I will have lots of cool little projects to show off in the coming month, as I finish and take pics and write the posts for them...but it means that my regular posting schedule is thrown way out of whack! Anyway, I guess this is a cliff notes version of my September Reading/Watching/Playing post!

What I'm reading The Red Threads of Fortune by JY YangThis was terrible. It had so much potential, but it didn't click with me. The prose was nice enough, but not very explicit (I didn't realize that the "raptors" she was using as scouts were actual dinosaurs rather than unspecified birds of prey until reading a review--the m…

Cats Bats and Jacks Halloween Spider Web Quilt

I bought this "Cats Bats and Jacks" Halloween Layer Cake by Riley Blake last year and turned it into a quick top last fall, and this year as part of my unfinished projects goals I pulled it out and finished it for this Halloween! 

Since I had a simply pieced front, I wanted the quilting to be more intricate, so I quilted it in a spider-web design. I used black thread on the top and white thread in the bottom so that it would show up on each side better. The back is a plain black fleece that I had in my stash and the binding is satin blanket binding from Joann's. 
I think it turned out great! The quilting was tricky since I did it on my home machine, and I couldn't get my walking foot to work so I used a regular quarter inch foot. I also had a scare with my machine where some spare bobbin thread got tangled in the hand wheel on the side...it was bad. I had to get my screwdrivers and start taking things apart, but I managed to fix it! Whew! Lesson learned! 

 James is …

My Thoughts on Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time

I have a lot to say about this series, and considering that the books total over 4 million words, it makes sense! I've already discussed the individual books in many of my previous monthly "reading watching playing" posts, but I wanted to do an in depth review where I could discuss my thoughts on the series as a whole. 
First, a spoiler free review: I really liked this series! I'd give it, on a whole, an 8/10 overall as a fantasy series. It is one of the best I've read for two reasons: The characters and the world. Every character (and there are a lot!)  is complex, flawed, and unique, but most impressively, grows, changes, and develops substantially over the course of the series.  The second reason is the world: it is so vivid and rich that if you tell me a character is from Ebou Dar I can tell you what they are wearing and the meaning behind it, if she is from Tarabon I know she wears her hair tiny beaded braids and has a thick accent. Even the cities have char…

Beach Trip: Padre Island 2019

We went to the beach last week! 

There were sunsets and boogie boards...

Waves and wipeouts...

There was lots of laying in the shade...

We walked barefoot on the beach and caught ghost crabs...


 I took a million great pictures, but this motion capture video sums up what I spent most of the trip doing:





What I'm Reading, Watching, Playing: August

What I'm Playing  Edge of Darkness This kickstarter game combines elements of deck building and card-crafting with worker placement and monster fighting. It's complicated, has a ton of pieces, and a strong city-factions theme. The box is massive, the rulebook long, and gameplay is medium complex. I'll say it's not exactly my cup of tea, but if I took the time to learn it and get really good at it, it could be really fun. John and Diana really liked it, Gunnar liked it okay, and I was just meh about it. But then, I really hate learning new games and the factions theme isn't my think and I pretty much hate deck building haha.




What I'm ReadingAncillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
This one wasn't as exciting as the first book in this series, which I reviewed last month for a lot of reasons. First, there was a lot of explanation of things that happened in the first book which while interesting didn't move things along very much There also wasn't very much at st…

Anne of Green Gables Doll Dress

I love Anne of Green Gables and have been wanting to make a doll outfit like this for a while! I used the "Carrots" pattern by Luminaria Designs from Pixie Faire which was very easy and straightforward. I used some quilting cotton from Joann's for for the dress, a fat quarter for the pinafore, and I bought the hat off of Amazon and decorated it with some spare ribbon from my stash.



The only thing I did that  I hadn't done before was the Peter Pan collar, which turned out really cute! I must have done something wrong because it doesn't lay totally flat, even after vigorous ironing. I know about understitching but I don't really understand it very well, so I think I must have done it wrong. Oops.

The back has some false buttons sewed over the velcro closure.  (I seriously hate making button holes!) I also cheated a little bit and used the bloomers that I made previously for the prairie girl dresses, since you can't see them. I don't need 5 pairs of bloo…

What I'm Reading Watching Playing: July

What I'm Reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey This is the first book in the Expanse Series, on which the T.V. show is based. I really liked the show, and John had read all the books and said that they were good, so I picked this one up from Half-Price Books and gave it a try! Overall it was good....BUT....I think the show was better. I KNOW! But hear me out. The show apparently combined the first two books, adding in the geopolitical point of view from Earth through the Senator's scenes, and those really added depth to the series that the book alone was lacking.

The book itself was a good quick read, not too technical for sci-fi, and most of the dialogue and scenes were word-for word the same in the book and the show. Unfortunately, since I just watched the show so recently, that also made it a bit boring of a read. I didn't get any new info out of the book that wasn't already in the show. The few changes that the show did make were positive and minor--the goo …

Good Natured Foxes Baby Quilt

This baby quilt is from my unfinished projects pile! I started it over two years ago and abandoned it after finishing the quilt top. I bought everything I needed to finish it but just...didn't. I guess I had more pressing projects to do! This wasn't for any specific baby either, so I also wasn't super motivated to do it when I had live babies who had been waiting for quilts to sew for! 


The fabric is the "Good Natured" Jelly Roll by Riley Blake. I loved the gender-neutral mint and orange and the cute little foxes and fawns! Probably not still available since I bought it so long ago.



The quilting was tricky on this one since I made it so long ago. I wasn't very good at squaring things up so if you look you can see the wrinkles and puffs, particularly along the edge of the quilt. I did my best to smooth things out, but it's far from perfect. I still think it turned out really cute though, and I can't believe what a weight off it is to have something fi…

Dinogenics 2nd Printing!

I reviewed the game Diongenics back in February when the first round of kickstarter games finally shipped... and I'm excited to say it's getting a 2nd printing! We've played several more times and I REALLY love it. It combines my love of worker-placement Agricola with Gunnar's love of Jurassic Park and all things Dinosaur. And this printing has an expansion with SEA CREATURES...which Jack will love when he's old enough to play. (He is obsessed with ancient marine reptiles like the Mosasaur.) It's only available for order for about 23 or so more days so check it out!


Unfinished Projects Goals

As I started cleaning out and organizing my crafting closet, I of course came across a pile of unfinished projects languishing at the back. They were abandoned for a variety of reasons over the past years from frustration to mistakes to lack of materials to just plain being unable to decide what to do next!

Over the next few months I would like to try and finish one of these unfinished projects each month...or get rid of them.

Magenta Baby Quilt - Started while I had morning sickness and can't look at it without feeling sick

Umbrella Quilt - It was ugly and I had no idea how to make it not ugly

Halloween Quilt - top finished, needs to be quilted

Foxes Baby Quilt - top finished, needs to be quilted

College T-Shirt quilt - Ran out of interfacing, got frustrated with ironing all the old t-shirts

Gunnar's Renfair Doublet - Got overwhelmed by several mistakes and shoved it aside

Red and Bluebirds Garden Quilt - I messed up and couldn't figure out how to save it!









Youtube Spotlight: Primitive Technology

This channel is a favorite of everyone in the house! This guy lives in Australia and does experiments in primitive living and technology in the rain forest near his house. He doesn't live out there full time, but he he shows in simple detail how one might go about making things like huts, ovens, and gardens out of only things that he can find in the forest.

His videos don't come out very often, but it's always exciting when he does publish one!

Also be sure to turn on the Closed Captions! There is no narration, so all the explanations are in the captions.



What I'm Reading Watching Playing: June

What I'm Reading Wheel of Time #14 A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson DONE! I've officially finished all 14 of the Wheel of Time books! I would like to do an in depth spoiler-ful review of the series soon, but for now I'll stick to my impression of the final book: WORTH IT.

It was a long road with some slogging along the way, but this final segment really lives up to the hype. It ties up pretty much all the loose threads in very satisfying ways, there are enough character deaths that I don't feel like Tarmon Gai'don was too easy, but enough happy endings that I don't feel like the whole slog was for nothing either. Sanderson did a great job of cutting out unnecessary characters and descriptions and keeping to the meat of what was happening. I'm excited that Gunnar is reading it now, and definitely looking forward to Amazon's adaptation coming out in a year or two!
The 19th Wife by David EbershoffI needed a quick easy non-fantasy r…